Drake Jackson and Quinton Bohanna Produce Epic Battles in the Trenches
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Drake Jackson and Quinton Bohanna Produce Epic Battles in the Trenches

Nick Roushover 2 years

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Article written by:Nick RoushNick Roush

@RoushKSR

Kentucky spring practice has transformed into trench warfare.

In the middle of it all, Drake Jackson fortifies the offensive line. As soon as the fourth-year center snaps the ball, he takes a lick from Quinton Bohanna. Clashes between the two are turning heads at the Joe Craft Football Training Facility.

“Drake’s playing good, but he’s got his hands full with Quinton,” Mark Stoops said after UK’s tenth spring practice. “Quinton is really playing some good football. He’s taking it to another level. He’s hard to handle.”

 

Jackson has become a staple of Kentucky’s offensive line as the starting center over the last two seasons. Even though he’s had plenty of success, nothing comes easily at spring practice.

“Quinton’s had a great spring. Him and Drake have battles everyday,” said offensive line coach John Schlarman. “If you don’t bring your A-game, you get embarrassed in that matchup.”

Jackson welcomes the competition from Bohanna.

“I’m blessed to have Q line up across from me everyday,” Jackson said. “First off, he’s massive, but he moves so well for his size. There’s not a lot of guys that can use their hands, flip their hips and go from power to speed like he does. He’s a really smart player. He’s one of the smartest on the D-line. He’s always in the right spot. He’s just all around a solid player.”

As Bohanna elevates Jackson’s play, the rest of the defensive line is pushing the offensive line. While Schlarman searches for Bunchy Stallings and George Asafo-Adjei’s replacements on the right side of the line, Luke Fortner, Mason Wolfe and Darian Kinnard are challenged by veterans.

“The defensive line has been steady. They’ve been solid in there,” Stoops said. “T.J. (Carter), I noticed him take it to another level. Calvin (Taylor Jr.) is always steady, strong in there. Of course, having Josh (Paschal) back in there really helps a lot. He’s so sudden and so quick. Quinton is really becoming a difference-maker.”

Even though Kentucky lost its National Defensive Player of the Year on the edge, stars are emerging in the middle of the defense.

A few more takeaways from Kentucky’s second spring scrimmage…

Explosive Plays are Back

For the last two seasons, Kentucky’s offense struggled to stretch out opposing defenses with a deep play threat. One of the primary goals go the spring season is develop targets who can make plays downfield. On Friday, UK’s offense did just that.

“We had some kids make some plays,” said Eddie Gran. “We had some broken plays, which is gonna happen sometimes, and we threw the ball really well on the run. We had some guys open, made some big plays. We were more explosive this scrimmage than we were in the first one, which is good. We’re looking for one (explosive play) of every seven, and we were. That was something to build off of.”

Terry Wilson echoed his offensive coordinator’s sentiment. The key is doing it consistently.

Gunnar was Great

While Terry Touchdown grabs headlines, Mark Stoops does not want Gunnar Hoak’s play to go unnoticed. Even though he’s going up against a thin second team defense, Hoak was poised on scoring drives.

“Gunnar had one heck of a scrimmage. I was really impressed with Gunnar,” Stoops said. “I’ve been really impressed with him. He’s played well, not to take away anything from Terry. In general, we’re throwing the ball better.”

Logan Stenberg Leads the Way

Like most of the play this spring, inconsistencies can be found just about everywhere. However, errors happen far less when the Cats are running the ball, thanks to the experienced left side of the line that features Landon Young and Logan Stenberg.

“We really ran the ball good Friday. I really felt like they did some good things,” said Stoops. “Logan really stood out to me. He’s been solid for a lot of years, so it doesn’t surprise anybody, but with him and Landon in there at the same time and we’re at full strength, they’re doing some good things.”

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2021-12-08